07/30/10 107 W - + 7 - 8 Last Night's House Fire / Gum Leaf Drive

Looks like the largest incident from last night's boomers was Fairview's house fire at 4012 Gumleaf Drive in Apex. As this News & Observer story reports, they were dispatched about 11:45 p.m. Arriving units found fire in the attic, and on the second floor of a two-story, wood-frame, single-family dwelling with 2,626 square-feet. Built 1992. Latter data from tax records.

Eleven engines and nine tankers were on scene, said the Fire Chief, with Fairview, Apex, Cary, Holly Springs, Fuquay-Varina, Morrisville, and Raleigh fire departments on scene. The fire was controlled after about an hour. No injuries, and believed caused by a lightning strike.

Units on scene:

Fairview E1,E8,E3,E2,TA6,TA7,C1,C2,C20
Apex E1,E2,E4,R4,TA1
Cary E6,L3 BATT1
Holly Springs E1,E2,E3,C1
Swift Creek TA2,TA6,C27
Fuquay TA4
Morrisville P3
Western Wake P196
Raleigh E8,E2,E13 A1

Garner E4 to Fairview Station 1
Fuquay E2 to Holly Springs Station 1
079 - 07/30/10 - 17:59

Raleigh Engine 11 to Apex #4 for Coverage
080 - 07/30/10 - 18:08

Now that is some mutual aid!
Legeros - 07/30/10 - 18:12

I would like to thank Raleigh Division Chief on duty last night (it was late and i was tired so i can’t remember name). I talked with him to arrange coverage for us and he graciously offered anything we may need. I still think there should be an automatic system for coverages so command or dispatch dosent have to figure it out. We had coverage at Apex, HS, and Fairview and then they called for more engines to scene and there went our coverage. Gotta be a better or more efficient way.

But all in all great multi agency operation.
Apex Batt Chief - 07/30/10 - 18:22

Agree Chief! Numerous times I have called for and listened to other departments calling for additional. Considering we do not have a “County” System in Place for automatic and additional alarms, there should be something put into place. As a Commander, I should not call Communications and Request a Second(Additional) Alarm and be questioned what exact units I need. If it is an additional structural assignment, Re-Dispatch the Call and Send a Similar Assignment. If it is “Water” I am looking for, request a Water Assignment (i.e. Five Tankers/One Pumper/Tanker).
201 - 07/30/10 - 18:41

Peter Brock is the Division Chief (C-10A). Battalion 3 also responded with the Raleigh FD “Strike Team.”
A.C. Rich - 07/30/10 - 21:09

196 was arriving at Apex 1 for Coverage when the next “alarm” dispatched us to the scene. We asked central if they wanted us to stay in coverage and have another engine dispatched in our place and they advised us to go to the scene because thats where we were needed more. There has to be a more efficient way of getting units dispatched for manpower or additional alarms. Does anyone know why Cary was not called upon more for assistance. Truck 6 was right up the street at a minimum.
ww - 07/31/10 - 16:21

Not sure what Truck 6 was told. I know they were covering Sta. 6 distict and maybe help for Fairview,HS,Apex distict just in case something else went down. Who knows?
fire1983 - 08/01/10 - 14:21


Very good points about requesting resources. Here’s the issue….too many chiefs with their “my sandbox” mentality. That’s why all of these departments keep all of their apparatus “in service”. They don’t want “that” department to beat them to “their” call. I have heard more than one chief officer in this county say… “We don’t want to change anything because X department will get dispatched to “our” call. Well, the system that SHOULD be in place is the one that sends the CLOSEST unit, despite who’s name is on the side of the door. CAD recognizes something as “in service” and meets the particular classification…it gets dispatched whether or not there are people on it or to put on it. Until some system is in place to staff (Vol duty crew or paid) all the apparatus in the stations, an alarm system won’t work. If you don’t have enough people to staff everything in the station…start marking them out of service. It gets discouraging listening to some “leaders” (term used loosely) in this county talk about this system work here, that system won’t work here. I ask “how the heck do you know?” If you’re too afraid to look into it or try it. As a side note… take a look back at the Charleston fire and the positive changes that have come out of that tragedy. Do we really have to wait for something like that to happen here before things change??? I certainly pray not! But until some chiefs get out of their current mentalities…same stuff, different day. We can only hope that the job can get done without getting someone hurt.

Off my soapbox for the day…Stay safe out there folks!
Wayne - 08/01/10 - 16:01

Well, maybe volunteers are not needed anymore. You see, many volunteers can’t run a duty crew, yet they can respond. The risk in marking all trucks out of service, except for what is staffed, is if the staffed truck is already on a call, our department’s pagers will not activate if there is a different call that just may be down the road. The community may actually suffer. Maybe it is a true system problem, but I do not think it is so much of a turf battle as listed above.
a volunteer FF - 08/01/10 - 17:13

Volunteer FF-
Not to throw stones…but you just did it again, essentially saying “it won’t work”. Trust me, having been on BOTH sides of combination depts, I can tell you it does work if people WANT it to work. 1 question/issue with your scenario: is that apparatus going to get staffed and out the door and on scene BEFORE that other apparatus from the next CLOSEST station (ALL departments in Wake County, including Cary and Raleigh)? See for the system to truly work and all citizens to recieve nearly seamless coverage, you have to involve all the depts in Wake Co. Also another potential is courtesy dispatch the “first due” company if it’s not staffed while automatically dispatching the closest staffed apparatus.
And FYI, I have never stated or will state to get rid of volunteers in Wake Co. I fully believe that they can be (and are if trained) tremendous assets, but the system needs to be tweaked a little I feel. The ultimate goal should be about providing the BEST service to the citizens and each other.
Wayne - 08/01/10 - 17:49

I understand and you are correct in many areas. Maybe a system can be worked out where CAD can perform the courtesy call to the department where the call is at. I am still skeptical and believe it can’t if all other trucks are out of service. POVs can start medical care and begin some control of the scene way before the truck gets there, so the courtesy dispatch would be really important. Oh well maybe CAD will work for us one day huh? Anyway I hope we can all keep a good working relationship in the county outside of the silly politics.
a volunteer FF - 08/01/10 - 18:12

Maybe this is a dumb question, but….

Is all that apparatus necessary for a single family dwelling fire? Seems like far more apparatus and personnel than might reasonably be required?
Buddy - 08/01/10 - 19:27

Buddy, I was sort of hoping a Chief or at the very least an officer THAT WAS THERE can help us understand what went down on this incident. Obviously, there’s something that we’re missing, so no second guessing here, just hoping someone can fill us in.

I’ll say first, I know there was a tanker shuttle and I’m not ever going to criticize someone for wanting to have adequate water supply during a working incident. I snuck over there and observed what looked like a well designed, very fluid (no pun intended), water shuttle operation. My opinion has always been that the RWECC should work with the County FD’s to establish “Tanker Task Forces”. When an IC calls for a “Tanker Task Force” they’d get five tankers, an engine company (for boosting pressure or being set up at a water point), and a Chief officer to act as “Water Supply Group Leader” (AC, is that proper NIMS terminology? hahaha).

I will say though, I was in disbelief when I heard three Raleigh engine companies (on top of all the other units) and the mobile air unit were in Fairview’s territory for a 2600 square foot house?????

So, someone that was there, paint a picture for us….
Silver - 08/01/10 - 21:21

I was there and I belive every bit of those trucks was necessary. First of all it was a 3 story house and the 2nd and 3rd floors were well involved. Severel of the engines were also involved in water supply. We also needed manpower due to the heat. But there were trucks alot closer than Raleigh, I agree. I do not know why CAD did not send more Cary trucks. Yes, command was requesting more resources but didn’t specify what department, which is probably why we got the Raleigh engine companies. The air truck was requested due to all of Fairview, Holly Springs, and Apex crews being on scene and no one to bring the rescue truck for air. Once again I do not know why more Cary trucks were sent.
079 - 08/01/10 - 22:20

By the numbers, from the unit list above:

14 engines
2 pumper-tankers
6 tankers
1 ladder
1 rescue
1 mobile air
Legeros - 08/01/10 - 22:35

From what I saw, Cary Engine 6(?) in the front and pumping. Another Engine close behind it, then an Engine at the corner with the drop tank feeding up the street via 5”...saw a few “engines” in line at the shuttle too.
Silver - 08/01/10 - 23:00

ICS compliance tech support at your service sir….. Here’s your answer: Group “SUPERVISOR”, Strike Team or Task Force “LEADER.” Therefore it would be a “Tanker Strike Team” (proper) and a “Water Supply Group Supervisor.”

I too was surprised at the RFD request, but we did what we were asked to do. It was a very good example of fulfilling a request for aid regardless of jurisdiction. Here’s what I “seen and did”.......... We (RFD) assisted with overhaul as the fire was under control upon our arrival (E-8 was the first RFD resource to arrive besides Air-1). The structure was a 2.5 story house where the fire consumed the entire “1/2 story” portion. The 2nd story was intact from ceiling level to floor (the fire did not extend below the ceiling level of the 2nd floor, although the ceilings were pulled to access the fire above). The guys on scene made (in my opinion) a very good stop given the amount of fire upon arrival and the water supply issues (the incident was in a cul-de-sac with a long lead-in street). As many may or may not know, rural fires require several pieces of apparatus and many of them (whether classified as engines, pumpers, or tankers) are used in the water shuttle. Also, it requires people to operate the water supply, therefore many of the “direct” firefighting resources are consumed to establish and operate the water supply. Last, even though you may see a mix of apparatus, it is the people on them that were needed (and many of them were riding three folks AND it was VERY hot and humid). Hey, fighting fires where there are hydrants is a lot easier. A real challenge is presented when you have to really work to get your water!!

A good job to Fairview, Cary, Apex, and Holly Springs for the initial attack and control. Although it was very uncommon to see a Raleigh dispatch and response for aid, I feel the resources were used accordingly based on the IC’s perceived need. I can’t speak for the CAD recommendations, etc. but the IC managed what he was given. Hey, we all work together don’t we? Yes!! I hope this dissertation paints a picture.
A.C. Rich - 08/01/10 - 23:13

As I recollect, Cary E6 first in, Fairview Engine 2nd, 5” suppl hose laid out to drop tank(s) located at the intersection. A “drive-by” tanker shuttle was used. All other resources staged and parked a distance away due to 5” supply line in street. Hope this helps the picture. It may be better painted by someone else.
A.C. Rich - 08/01/10 - 23:19

I was up in the front yard giving the IC some assistance. Originally, I was assigned the Bravo Division and then was asked to coordinate crews for interior assignments. Command was giving assignments and I was working as a personnel staging officer to fill those assignments. If I am correct on the timing, at the time the last round of manpower request were made, the IC had assignments to be given out, but our manpower pool was down to zero. Folks had been sent to rehab and had not been released by EMS to return to work.

I don’t know how many people were utilized in the water shuttle, knowing how labor intensive that can be, I am sure it was a few.

Without looking at some CAD data, I am only going on my recollection, but between the time the last manpower request was made and the time they actually arrived, a couple of on-scene crews had been released by EMS and had made some great progress and the fire situation had improved greatly by the time our RFD brothers arrived. At this point with the fresh assistance, it was decided to remove a couple of the initial on-scene companies (CFD E6 and HS E??) from the rotation of working companies.

As A.C. stated it was hot and humid and with an effort not to over-work crews passed their effectiveness some additional resources were called. Why we got RFD over CFD or other county units, I have no idea. I was not in that discussion. I do know that we had work to do and no crew to do that work a couple of times and that I was glad to see the IC not try to over-work the crews that had made 3-4 rotations already.
Griggs - 08/02/10 - 12:38

@AC….I knew better dang it, SUPERVISOR, not LEADER, duh.

@201…There isn’t a system in place for “additional alarms” because nobody can agree on a set run card. So, it only makes sense for the IC to ask for what they need specifically; “2 engines and 2 tankers” or other specific apparatus type(s). Hell, some people still give a size-up of “Condition Red, Code 2”, one can only speculate that this is also due to the “my sandbox” mentality. My opinion is this is where a pro-active, in touch Fire Commission would be an asset. But, it all comes back to the “P” word….POLITICS!!

I understand it’s difficult due to hydrant vs non-hydrant areas, but, certainly something can be agreed upon for continuity countywide. Same thing goes for giving size-ups at incidents. It’s an embarrassment if you ask me, that simple things like this are in such disarray to be the “Capital County”. Unfortunately, it will take a tragedy to get things changed.
Silver - 08/02/10 - 15:38

We keep talking about non-hydrant area. Didn’t anyone realize there was a hydrant within 2000 feet of the fire? Just like the last big fire in Burkhaven, it WASN’T used. With all those trucks and all that fire why didn’t a supple line get laid and a relay pumping operation initiated? It may have taken a few minutes to do, but then your problem is solved! Cary hydrants are all over that part of the district, someone just needs to find out where they are and how to use them. Hell, there was one 300’ through the woods that would have been just as easy and would have eliminated the water supply issue and about 20 of those trucks that were called for?
hydrant missed - 08/02/10 - 18:31

Good point….while I was speaking of hydrant vs non-hydrant as a broad county perspective, you raise a good point about this particular incident.
Silver - 08/02/10 - 20:32

Two of the engines/pumper tankers had a total of 3 personnel, so maybe apparatus counting might not be the best judge of things. Those two units could have had any where from 6-8 or maybe as many as 12 personnel. Not to bring the dead horse up again, but some staffing standards would be great.
staffing - 08/02/10 - 20:53

Silver - 08/02/10 - 20:59

Silver, we don’t all have to agree on what should make up an additional alarm. It should just be another call class and let each department define what that jurisdiction wants on additional alarms. We don’t all have the same run cards for the initial dispatch, so why should we have to have a set run card on additional alarms? We could use the major working fire call class, but I think will need something different.

I think we both agree that the IC should have a simple method for getting more assistance. All I am saying is it should not be that hard to set it up. Honestly, I don’t know what hold up is, I personally know that several fire chiefs have asked for such a thing, but for one reason or another it has not gotten done.

Likewise, a tanker task force could be handled the same way. If at Swift Creek, we want 5 tankers and one engine for the water point, let us define the call class that way. If someone else decides they need 7 tankers and one engine let them define the task force as their needs fit.
Griggs - 08/02/10 - 22:57

I have been reading some of these stupid remarks and everyone is missing the big picture, the fire was extinguished, no exposures were burnt, no one was injured,or killed! Job well done, I say! For the guy that wants to hike 300 of 5” through the woods, REALLY!!!!!! FYI, we lost 2 recon teams in the woods that night searching for said hydrant!(JK)I would really like to know where that hydrant is, perhaps a cross street?
on scene - 08/03/10 - 09:26

the big picture, the fire was extinguished, no exposures were burnt, no one was injured,or killed

That is a cruch for not wanting to change, fix the problem, or being able to step out and learn from your call
Mike - 08/03/10 - 11:37

Mike and others, here’s the rub. Questions here are often asked in a more negative instead of neutral fashion. Asking, say, “tell about your water supply choices that night” versus “hey, why didn’t you use this hydrant” provokes a different type of response, the first versus the second. And thus it’s tempting to label someone’s reaction to a negative comment, as an unwillingness to critique/learn from the experience. I believe they are apples and oranges. (Or just as easily both.) But it gets mixed into a messy, fruity smoothy when we’re discussing here. Folks talk a particular way, in a particular tone, and react in particular ways. (They kinda sound like, er, firefighters.) Neutrality, objectivity, positive-ness. That’s the harder stuff!
Legeros - 08/03/10 - 11:50

Well, I never wrote that the scene was ran perfectly, I’m sure that every fire dept. that responded critiqued their actions. Like EVERY call I respond to, I learn something new.
There is going to be a debriefing at Fairview FD tonight at 7:30 pm. Please come by and ask any questions that you may have.
on scene - 08/03/10 - 12:01

As far as ordering additional water resources, I believe the proper NIMS wording would be “Tender Strike Team”

That of course only works if your Comms Center knows what that means.

Goes back to the logical system of having pre-determined resources, alarm levels, etc., so that the IC in the field isn’t making those calls, the decisions are handled by Communications.
harkey (Email) (Web Site) - 08/03/10 - 13:01

I would like to thank all that participated in the fire on Gumleaf Dr on Friday morning. If anyone was left out of the resource list in any of the news coverage, I offer my apologies. They were given to the news media.
I made the call to Chief Brock via telephone for additional resources due the stripping of resources in the southern end of the county. We reached over some local resources so that those still in their respective fire stations could provide coverage in areas where they are more familiar. The resource call up was done purposefully. We are very fortunate to have the number of resources that are available in our county and be able to call upon when needed.
As Chief Rich alluded to, it was extremely hot and humid and we did not want to over tax any personnel who may have to fight another fire when they returned to their respective fire districts.
Lastly, at every scene there are training areas identified. The important thing is that we recognize areas that can be improved upon and act upon them through our continued effort to become more effective, efficient, and safe.
I have read many comments and agree with Mike. This should be a learning session, not a bashing session. I ask that if anyone has any specific questions about the incident as to why certain strategies or tactics were carried out to contact me via email at chief@fairviewfd.com or via phone at 919-605-0115. I will be more than happy to discuss these items with you.
All are welcome to share your thoughts, concerns, and questions at the debriefing tonight at Fairview Station 1 at 7:30.
Ed Brinson, Fire Chief, Fairview Fire Department
Fairview Car 1 (Email) - 08/03/10 - 15:18

Chief, thanks for getting on here and posting and filling all of us in.
Silver - 08/03/10 - 23:24

Hello, i just bought the land on which this house used to sit on. I can not find any pictures of fire. Is there a way someone can send me photos of the fire and that night on Gumleaf? Thanks
Joey (Email) - 08/15/13 - 10:19

Remember personal info?

/ Textile

Comment moderation is enabled on this site. This means that your comment will not be visible on this site until it has been approved by an editor.

To prevent spam we require you to answer this silly question

  (Register your username / Log in)

Hide email:

Small print: All html tags except <b> and <i> will be removed from your comment. You can make links by just typing the url or mail-address.